For most visa extensions, it is not necessary to leave the country to complete the process. For complete information, visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/while-in-uk/extending-stay.
Tourist Visa – You are only allowed to remain in the UK for 6 months with a visitor visa. Visit the home offfice link here for further information.
Tier 1 – This type of visa can be renewed after 3 years if you are continuing to work or invest in the UK. Expect the process to take another 4 weeks and be ready to be without your passport during this period if you make your application to extend your visa by mail. You can opt for Premium service of applications by booking an appointment online and applying in person. See http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/applyinginperson for more information. The home office visa section is situated in Croydon: Lunar House, 40 Wellesley Road, Croydon CR9 2BY Tel: 0870 606 7766. When applying in person, the decision about your extension is usually made the same day.
For information on documents that will be required, visit the website that corresponds to your category:
- Investor: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/working/tier1/investor/eligibility/extension
- Entrepreneur: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/working/tier1/entrepreneur/eligibility
- General: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/working/tier1/general/applying
Tier 2 – You can apply to stay in the UK under the Tier 2 program, but it is a good idea to think about now switching to Tier 1. As you will have UK work experience, applying for Tier 1 will likely be successful and will give you greater flexibility if you are thinking of changing jobs. Application is through the post and needs to be done at least 6 weeks prior your visa expiring. Click here for information regarding extensions or here to find out if you are eligible to apply for Tier 1. Tier 4 – Students’ visa is possibly the most complex to obtain as far as the renewals are concerned, applicants should be aware of the difficulties and make sure that procedure is started well in advance. Most universities suggest that you apply at least one month before your current visa or permission expires. You can apply up to three months before it expires. You must be able to show that you have posted your application before your current permission to stay (visa or ID card) expires.
It is a criminal offence to stay longer than your permission allows, and you will lose your right to appeal against a refusal.
If you are in London and your visa expiry is more than a month before your starting date, you will need to go back to your home country to apply.
Visa for retired people: Please visit our section “You want to retire” as it details the visa extension process.